Candle lighting time, Friday night, is what I deeply feel is my one-on-one time with Hashem. I look at the flickering flames and imagine that they are a portal to having a private audience with Our Heavenly Father. Think of a king who is busy all week running the affairs of his kingdom, for He is aware of everything, and orchestrates every little detail in every living – and non-living – entity, from microscopic viruses, to erupting volcanoes.
Erev Shabbat, He “leaves His office,” to spend time with His children, and to hear what’s on their minds – individually, as when a son or daughter is davening privately, or collectively, in a minyan, or at a mass gathering.
I cherish this “me” time, when I light, because I feel I have His individual attention, and it’s my golden opportunity to pour my heart out to Him. I have many requests, and complaints, but first I acknowledge the chesed he has showered me with.
Over the decades, He consistently has saved me from my own foolishness, like when I have jaywalked multiple times to save time, but should not have – especially during rush hour. Or when I have left to the airport later than I planned to, but inexplicably, there was no traffic or lineup at security! He has also saved me from other people’s incompetence, ineptitude and hefkerness, like when I tripped on a barely visible crack in the sidewalk that supposedly had been repaired, but actually was made worse by a shoddy “fix” but didn’t fall because a person walking by caught me.
There are so many “close calls” that we actually aren’t aware of – because they never happened to us. Like a driver going through a red light, but you had already driven through the intersection many seconds earlier, and are blessedly oblivious of the fact that an impaired or distracted driver missed you.
I also express my appreciation that my loved ones – family and friends – also had a relatively intact day, and that they safely got to their destinations that week, and only experienced at worse, minor annoyances and aggravations. Like a flat tire, or a cancelled appointment that had required making many calls for and rearranging your day for naught.
I pray that their journey in life be lengthy – but that there not be any major detours, dead ends, or setbacks leading to irrevocable loss, extreme anguish and trauma, caused by other’s accidental gross negligence, cluelessness, impairment or laziness. It’s one thing if you are responsible for your own misfortune, but so much more unbearable if you did all the right things and someone else who was not paying attention, or who took safety shortcuts, or used shoddy materials, caused horrific, irrevocable harm. A sobering Johns Hopkins study, several years ago, showed that behind stroke and heart disease, and cancer, medical error was the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Only too recently, there was arguably an avoidable loss of life in Israel and Italy and Florida.
But my tefillah has now gone beyond wishing for blessings. I now beg Hashem that those who deliberately want to undermine my family’s well-being, as well as that of Klal Yisrael, because of mindless hatred, overriding greed and lust for control and power – who view themselves as godly – fail in their noxious endeavors.
I plead that their evil plots, plans and schemes backfire, boomerang and be turned around. I beseech Him that these toxic psychopaths and self-loving narcissists who by their nefarious actions, mock Hashem and His eternal blueprint for an ethical life – the 10 Commandments – be the recipients of whatever terrifying chaos, mass destruction and permanent upheaval they try to inflict on the children of Yaacov, and on Bnai Noach.
I acknowledge to Him that we may not be worthy of such chesed and loving kindness, but our All-Seeing Father has, since our creation as a nation, been merciful, even when we didn’t deserve it. I ask that He “give a taste of their own medicine” to those who are obsessed with erasing us, for in attempting to do so, they erase Him.
They have no fear of uttering words of sheker, of stealing and cheating, of launching acts of murder – because in their eyes, Hashem doesn’t matter. They see Him as being weak. Or a fairy tale. They act with impunity because they deny our Creator’s existence.
Please, You who are the Master of the Universe – show them your Emes, for our sake – and for Yours. So that the nations will be awed, be overwhelmed with remorse, and repent.
If I sound angry, it is because I am so fed up with the groundless hatred directed to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. My parents were Holocaust survivors. If the question ever came up of what high school my mother, a”h, graduated from, I would truthfully tell them from “Auschwitz Academy.”
Many survivors who are still alive have confided to me that don’t sleep at night, worried about their kids, grandchildren and their children. They see that Jew hatred never went away, but was politically incorrect. Now it is totally acceptable under the guise as anti-Zionism. Tragically, there are even Jews who are vilify the State of Israel.
May Hashem open their unseeing eyes, and the eyes of the rest of the world. Amen.